I have been thinking a lot lately about my brother.
Growing up, he was two & a half years older than me and three grades ahead in school. Looking back I can honestly say that there were times (more times than I care to admit) that we didn’t even like each other. We fought. We spent a lot of time trying to get each other in trouble. And often we stayed separated and did our own things; me in the cornfield behind our house killing pretend bad guys with homemade weapons, and him in the house reading encyclopedias or something. (Kids, you may have to google “encyclopedia” to find out what that word means – knowing is half the battle!)
It’s hard to explain to people that didn’t know us back then why we had so many different baby-sitters. Most of them, if they made it through the whole evening, wouldn’t return for a second round. We had that affect on people.
As we got older I would even go so far as to choose interests that were different than his, just so we didn’t like or do the same things. For example, I always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. But because the guitar was his thing – I refused to even try and instead focused on painting and drawing.
It wasn’t until we both moved out on our own – to different towns – that we started really bonding. And ever since then, whenever either of us have needed a friend – someone to laugh with, someone to cry with, someone to grieve with, someone to listen – we were there for each other. I don’t know how I would’ve made it through some of the darkest & most depressed times in my life without him. And that’s not just hyperbole – that’s fact.
We are closer now than we have ever been. I count my brother as one of my closest friends. And lately, it’s been him that has been going through the valley. He recently went through a rough divorce. Anyone who has been through one knows how many levels of pain and suffering that can spark. He is also a pastor and hasn’t had the easiest time in that respect as a result. There are also three wonderful kids involved and it’s an almost certainty that he will be moved this summer to a new church. Things just seem to pile on and compound sometimes.
I hope and pray that I have been a good enough brother to him during this extremely difficult time. I hope that when he needed me I was there – like he was there for me when I went through my divorce.
But often tough times lead to happier times. This week, he got remarried. I haven’t had much of a chance to visit with or get to know his new wife, but I am looking forward to the time when I can because she seems like a really wonderful, smart, and likeable woman. Plus I owe her a debt of gratitude because I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I have seen my brother this happy. And, as his brother, no one in the world is any happier for him than I am.
So much so that I even forgive the Mickey Mouse ears that he brought me back from his senior trip with the word “DOOF” stitched on the back.